Is Your Hand Sanitizer Poisoning You?

Dr. John Briggs

Is Your Hand Sanitizer Poisoning You?

4 mins
August 3, 2020

Not all hand sanitizers are created equal. Some are actually very dangerous, and the more you use them the more toxic the effects. A report in Medscape is showing that the FDA is warning people to avoid dozens of hand sanitizers because they may contain methanol. This is an alcohol that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin. Many were labeled as containing the safer alcohol, ethanol, but when tested proved to be the cheaper methanol, or wood alcohol. 

FDA Approval

On July second, the FDA said it’s aware of adults and children who ingested hand sanitizers contaminated with methanol having caused blindness, hospitalizations and death. The FDA is warning consumers to beware of any sanitizer marked as being FDA-approved. To date, the FDA has not approved any hand sanitizer. 

Besides the original nine brands of sanitizer the FDA originally flagged, they recently added 50 more. Although many have since been voluntarily recalled by the manufacturer, what people have stocked up on in fear, may be toxic. 

Brand Warnings

Many of the hand sanitizers on the FDA’s list have been sold through the Walmart chain and BJ’s Wholesale Club. Many produced by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico have been included in the warning. The following is a short list of those identified at toxic by the FDA: All-clean Hand Sanitizer, Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer, Clean Care NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol, Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer, The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer, CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol, CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol, Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer, and lastly, the FDA said sanitizers made by Grupo Insoma, S.A.P.I de CV have also tested positive for methanol. 

The FDA has asked Eskibiochem to stop selling the methanol containing hand sanitizers, but the company has refused to do so. Methanol toxicity can lead to nausea, headache, blurred vision, blindness, seizures, and permanent damage to the nervous system. So far, soap and water have none of the potential of health hazards as the use of these hand sanitizers. The world we live in today has gone overboard on sterility. 

How It Used to Be

When I was a kid, we weren’t scared to the point of illness of germs. Those of us who played in the ditch and ate mud pies developed rock solid immune systems. It’s interesting to see those who are chronically sterilizing everything in their home and preventing their kids from getting down and dirty seem to be the most plagued with frequent illnesses. We thought nothing of pulling a carrot out of the ground, wiping in on our pants and eating it. Now we have to get special vegetable washes and scrub the daylights out of our food. 

Your Armor

Your skin is your armor against the outside world. The bacteria that live on your skin are critical to defending you against your environment. First, if you destroy this ecological balance, you’re lowering your ability to defend yourself as these bacteria help break down and neutralize potentially damaging elements coming in contact with your skin. Almost like the bacteria in your septic tank break down organic matter. 

Secondly, alcohol breaks up the fats which are critical to maintaining cell walls. When you don’t maintain good fats in your skin, the results are dry damaged skin. Those bathing their skin in alcohol, regardless of being ethanol or methanol, are creating damage and allowing for easier transmission of many pathogens into the system. 

For this reason, I don’t have hand sanitizers in my office. Instead, I have a bathroom with hot soapy water which I use as needed. All too often the OCD person who’s obsessed with fear of germs and sterilizing everything in sight is usually dealing with low serotonin levels. This is also seen associated with anxiety and depression. Here we see the kind of activity portrayed in the Monk television show. So much of this is generated by fear shutting down gut production of serotonin. Don’t give in to fear.

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About Dr. Briggs

Dr Briggs is a 1980 graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and has been practicing naturopathic medicine in the northwest corner of Oregon since his graduation. His practice involves diagnostic and therapeutic modalities which have stood the test of time and the challenges of diverse disease. We believe that each person exists dynamically as a spirit being, possessing a soul made up of their mind, will, and emotions, living in a body which requires specific care and nutrition. To address only the physical needs is to ignore the real person, and frequently, the real issues. We strive to address all your issues (spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical) with compassion and wisdom.

This article was orginally reported by
Dr. John Briggs

Dr. John Briggs is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.